a) The three officers Prashant Bhushan of 1988 batch IRS, Prakash Dubey of 2001 batch, and Sanjay Bahadur of 1989 batch IRS officers have been identified as the key accused of the tax hike hoax incident.
b) The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Monday filed a charge sheet against three Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers for drafting and realizing a report on Covid-19 tax without any authority. The three officers, despite having more than 30 years of service, failed to exercise due care and misguided 50 young officers to prepare the report and circulate it, a government official said.
c) The CBDT has served the three officers a notice demanding an explanation for their conduct. They need to respond within 15 days. A proposal to hike income tax and impose a Covid-19 surcharge has come to fore on Sunday. The proposal drafted by a group of tax officers suggested hiking super-rich tax to 40 per cent, imposing a cess and other measures to increase revenues amid the coronavirus pandemic.
d) Apart from pandemic cess, the paper suggested imposing higher tax on foreign companies, re-introduction of inheritance tax, and raising the equalization levy, among others. The CBDT and Finance Ministry has since said that the paper titled ‘FORCE’ which stands for ‘Fiscal Options & Response to COVID-19 Epidemic’ was drafted without any authorization or assignment and was illegally leaked to the public.
e) Top government officials underscored that the officials had no business circulating reports about an official matter in their personal capacity. They, one of them said referring to the charge sheet issued to other officers, had ended up creating confusion and uncertainty with respect of the policy of the government on income tax rates, which could have an adverse impact on the economy, especially when the country is battling a pandemic and the government is keen to ensure a stable tax regime.